Record crowd at Perth Palm Sunday walk

Former Premier of Western Australia, Dr Carmen Lawrence, and now Professor in the School of Psychological Science at the University of Western Australia, addressed a record crowd of close to 1 500 people outside St George’s Cathedral at the Perth Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees, held on 25 March.

Dr Lawrence drew attention to the cruelty of Australia’s refugee policies, saying, “We know that the current policies are costly, costly in human terms and financial terms, and cruel, unutterably cruel, defying the refugee convention to which we’re signatory.”

Newly installed Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy AO, Australia’s first female Archbishop, in one of her first major public appearances as Archbishop added her voice to the call for a humane response to people seeking safety saying, “Australians are a compassionate people. Instead of limbo and uncertainty, we can offer safety, freedom and a future.”Continue Reading

Byford celebrates

On Sunday 10 December, Byford Uniting Church celebrated its 90th anniversary with a special Thanksgiving Service. The service also celebrated the work of the congregation’s Crisis Care volunteers, who provide support to people in the community who may be experiencing domestic violence and other forms of crisis.

The foundation of Byford Uniting Church was laid in 1927, with Mr and Mrs Abernathy mentioned on wall plaques still on the church today. Mrs Scott and Miss Cole have also been acknowledged, though without plaques, as two pioneers of the church building being built. On 31 March 1928, the church was  opened by then Moderator of the General Assembly of WA (Presbyterian), Rev George Tulloch. Continue Reading

Hands-on ministry in Meeka

Rev Mitch Fialkowski was inducted in Meekatharra as Patrol Minister, or ‘Bush Chaplain’, in the Remote Area Ministry Murchison Patrol in December.

Mitch has been working in the region for around five years with Frontier Services. His role was previously under the umbrella of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church, however recent changes at Frontier Services mean Mitch’s role is now within the Uniting Church WA, and is supported by fundraising though Frontier Services.

Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, and Rev David de Kock, General Secretary, travelled up to Meekatharra for the service, where Steve preached. Rev John Dihm, Remote Area Minister based in Tom Price, made the seven and a half hour drive to Meekatharra to attend the service and  present Mitch with a beautiful stole. Continue Reading

Congress National Gathering: Trauma and Healing

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Aboriginal and Islander members of the Uniting Church have boosted resources for youth work, mission and evangelism at the triennial United Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (Congress) National Conference, held from Saturday 13 to Thursday 18 January in Geelong, Victoria.

Congress will employ a full-time National President and a full-time youth worker for the next three years, to build on the strong work being done by young Indigenous church leaders in local communities around the country. Congress also rang in a number of generational leadership changes, electing Rev Garry Dronfield to the new role of National President.

Garry is a Bundjalung man in placement at Sylvania Uniting Church in Sydney, who served as Deputy Chairperson on the previous Congress National Executive. Garry is well known for his association with the God Squad motorcycle group. At his installation service, Garry preached on Daniel 3:1-30, The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace, urging Congress members to stand firm in their faith and be confident in their belief in Jesus. Continue Reading

President’s message: Standing alongside First Peoples this Survival Day

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA), Stuart McMillan, has called on governments state and federal to speed up negotiation of treaties that recognise Indigenous sovereignty.

In a video message released to coincide with 26 January, Stuart has urged all Australian governments “to give First Peoples a voice into the political processes which affect their lives.”

“First Peoples in Australia have not only survived but they have withstood injustice and today stand proud.”

Since 2015, the Uniting Church has been exploring what recognising sovereignty and treaty for its partners in the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.Continue Reading

Bring hope and healing to the world this Christmas

Last year, the ecumenical churches raised an incredible $2.1 million through the Act for Peace Christmas Bowl. Uniting Church members across the country generously contributed over $990 000 to provide food, shelter, medicine and health care to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The theme for this year’s Christmas Bowl is ‘When did I see you hungry? When did I see you sick? When did I see you a stranger?’

Jess Xavier spoke to Rev Stephen Larkin, minister at Nedlands Uniting Church, about what it means to take part in this much loved ecumenical tradition. The Nedlands congregation has been supporting the Christmas Bowl for over twenty years.Continue Reading

Gifts, goats and God this Christmas

“You got me a what?”

Uncle Graham is squinting at your card, breath a little yeasty from the Christmas pudding. Frankly, he’s disappointed. It was socks he wanted. Or a fishing magazine. He also had his eye on a new case for his iphone.

You got him a goat from UnitingWorld’s Everything in Common ethical gift catalogue. Worthy, but clearly not his favourite.

“Well, it’s for a family in Zimbabwe…” you tell him, a little flustered. “They’ll breed the goats and with the money they can get for them at the market, they’ll send their children to school. It’s pretty cool, actually.”

Uncle Graham looks skeptical. He doesn’t actually say it, but you can see what he’s thinking: “So you got me nothing. You got them goats, but you got me nothing.”Continue Reading